Marcos Giron was too solid in his 7-6 (5), 6-4, victory over his good friend Tommy Paul. He’ll now face another friend, Taylor Fritz, who has been playing some seriously good tennis so far this season.
Giron rebounded nicely after a brief break from competition, with the bubble-life and 14-day Melbourne quarantine weighing heavily on his, and many other players’, psyche.
“I needed a couple weeks to reset,” Giron said. “The Covid break in December and the hard quarantine in Australia really got to me, I needed to reset.”
The two Southern California tennis stars have never faced each other on the main stage before, but have had some incredible battles on the Challenger circuit. Most recently, a brutal 2-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory for Fritz at the 2019 Newport Beach Challenger.
Giron is a +185 underdog according to DraftKings Sportsbook, which seems about right, given Fritz’ impressive wins over Denis Shapovalov, David Goffin and a resurgent Nikoloz Basliashvili this past month. The former UCLA standout can certainly pull the upset, but he’ll need to capitalize on every chance he gets against the huge-serving Fritz.
In Newport, Giron led by a mini-break in the final-set tiebreak and was gifted a short ball. Instead of pulling the trigger, he chose to play it safe and ultimately lost the point.
“That was it! That was the chance,” Giron said. He was absolutely right, as Fritz would serve his way to the finish line, and ultimately win the tournament for the second year in a row.
Giron’s ability to defend will likely play a key role in this match. Against Paul, he was able to turn defense into offense with his uncanny ability to hit shots on the run.
But defense alone will not win Giron this match. His forehand is more solid than Fritz's, and he'll need to use it to take control of the points, like he does below.
Holding serve will also be crucial, as there is no real answer for Fritz’s first-serve, first-ball combo.
At +185, Giron is worth a look in this match, and should keep things close. My heart wants to pick Giron to pull the upset, but given Fritz’ recent form, the safe bet is to take Giron +3.5 games, and hope he steals a set.
The Pick: Marcos Giron +3.5 games vs. Taylor Fritz
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